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Film / Anger Management

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Anger Management is a 2003 comedy film directed by Peter Segal, starring Adam Sandler (who also executive produced), Jack Nicholson, and Marisa Tomei.

The story is about a timid man, David Buznik (Sandler), who is enrolled in Anger Management after he incurs the wrath of Selective Enforcement by lightly tapping a flight attendant on the arm. Hilarity Ensues when the judge assigns him a Cloudcuckoolander named Buddy Rydell (Jack Nicholson, whom he met on the airplane) as his therapist.

Was adapted into a TV series with the same name on the FX network, starring Charlie Sheen and Selma Blair, with Charlie as the main character who is a former baseball player with anger issues and is also a therapist.


This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Buddy picks up a golf club and a baseball bat before choosing the baseball bat to smash the window of the Lexus. In 1994, Jack Nicholson was cited for smashing a man's window with a golf club in a bout of rage.
    • In the scene where Dave smashes his boss' lamp with a golf club, he says "See, I golf also you should bring me sometime." This is a reference to Happy Gilmore in which Adam Sandler plays a golfer with anger problems.
  • Adam Westing: The Guardian's review of the film described it as starring "Jack Nicholson playing a Jack Nicholson who's not as good a Jack Nicholson as the Jack Nicholson he played in About Schmidt or As Good as It Gets, but a better Jack Nicholson than the Jack Nicholson he played in Somethings Gotta Give."
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Sandler's past roles as a guy with anger problems. Here, he can't express anger. At all.
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  • Ambiguously Gay: Lou, one of the patients in Dave's anger group, dresses and speaks in an effeminate manner, but his sexuality is never confirmed. This is even lampshaded by the fact that his mustache is shaved on one side to resemble a question mark. A Deleted Scene hints that Lou is bisexual.
  • Angry Black Man: The air marshal who, for a refreshing change, is angry for a semi-legitimate reason.
  • Artistic License – Religion: When Dave confronts his childhood-bully-turned-Buddhist-monk, Buddy claims that Dave made an offensive joke about Buddha, to which the monk responds "let's not make fun of my god here". Buddhists do not view Buddha as a god, but as a wise teacher with no divinity.
  • Batman Gambit: Everything after the air marshal incident. Not including the air marshal himself; mind you (he was having a really bad day), and Arnie Shankman, they're what in math would be called a "removable discontinuity".
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Stacy and Gina,the two porno girls in the group. They seem nice enough but are apparently the reason they're there because Stacy bit Gina's toe off in a fit of rage, Not that she's mad about it anymore, oddly enough, while Gina stabled a guys lips shut because he insulted Stacy
  • Biggus Dickus: Andrew, the "testicle with legs".
  • Brick Joke:
    • The seat David was about to get was him between two fat passengers before he sat with Buddy. The end of the movie reveals that the air marshal ended up taking that seat, adding to his bad day.
    • The water gun.
  • Buffy Speak: Sandler, as usual.
    • "I'm not a homophobe. I'm a pulling-out-my-penis-in-front-of-you-ophobe."
    • "She tried to chocolate me to death!"
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Buddy looks like a homeless man and acts half-crazy himself, but he still possesses a great deal of quirky, Yoda-like wisdom.
  • But Not Too Black: Buddy, since his mom is shown to be black (in a deleted scene). Though it is not confirmed if she is his biological mother or not.
  • Butt-Monkey: David. Everything that happens to him in this movie is because of the oversensitivity and Selective Enforcement of one flight crew. Then it turns out that the flight crew was faking the whole thing, as part of a gambit by Buddy to get David to face his anger issues. Except the air marshal; his hostility was real, because he was having a bad day.
  • The Cameo:
  • Deadpan Snarker: As part of Dave's passive-aggressive way of dealing with his negative emotions, especially towards Buddy.
    "Jeez, without slippy-flippies or angry masturbating, I don't see how [[having fun]] is possible."
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Either parodied or invoked.
    • Dave is tasered by an air marshall after bugging a stewardess for headphones while she overreacts to every small thing he does.
    • Dave jokes to Buddy that his mother died earlier in the movie, and how does he get back at him? He makes Dave (almost) cheat on his girlfriend, and then tells her that he did anyway.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Justified, as it eventually turns out that seemingly half the city is in on Buddy's Zany Scheme for Dave.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Linda and Andrew went to the same college, Brown University together, and they may or may not have had sex.
  • Extreme Doormat: Dave. The whole point of the movie is to snap him out of it.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The very first shot is of some girls jumping rope in the street next to a spraying fire hydrant (presumably because of a Heat Wave) while a pair of Hasidic Jews walk by and Blondie's "Heart of Glass" plays from an unseen tape player. (This is to set the opening scene as Brooklyn in the late 1970s, where we will see the cause of the preteen Dave Buznik's social awkwardness.)
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Based on some offhand statements an impatient Dave makes at the beginning of the movie, the air marshal concludes that Dave is sexist, racist, and insensitive to the War on Terror.
  • Fiction Isn't Fair: If it wasn't for the Rule of Funny (as well as David's timidness), he could have sued almost every other character in the movie.
  • For the Evulz: Subverted. In between, we're given the impression of Buddy as a rather nutty Cloudcuckoolander (which he is, by the way) who appears to be torturing Dave just for the fun of his twisted little games, though in end, it turns out that Buddy's Zany Scheme really was just to help Dave overcome his implosive anger problems to get him to stand up for himself.
  • Freudian Slip: The waiter when he sees Dave's two fake dates taking off their coats to reveal their clothing:
    Waiter: Would you like a boobs—? Booth?
  • Girlfriend Scheming: Everything that happened to Dave was a part of Buddy's therapy, and his girlfriend Linda (along with a number of other people) was in on it.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Subverted, as Dave is more creeped out by the gorgeous bisexuals who are his fellow therapy group members than aroused by them. The other males in the group seem to love it.
  • Goofy Print Underwear:
    • Artie Shankman wears saffron-colored bikini briefs under his saffron-colored monk's robe.
    • The Boston Red Sox bra and panties that Kendra wears could count, too.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: When you get Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson together, this is more-or-less unavoidable.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Frank Head, Dave's Mean Boss who makes Dave do all his work and does nothing but belittle him for it.
    • Andrew, Linda's ex-boyfriend and current "best friend" who clearly wants to steal her away from Dave.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Buddy forces Dave to pull his car over on the side of the highway and sing the song "I Feel Pretty." Dave's intonation of "I feel pretty and witty and gay" indicates that he recognizes this trope, and he's feeling both emasculated and humiliated.
  • Kafka Komedy: The whole film makes it look like the whole world is out to get the meek and polite David, either making him a Butt-Monkey, have Disproportionate Retribution inflicted on him for minor offenses or having him blamed for things well beyond his control. It is revealed in the end that none of this is coincidental, Buddy having used his many, many contacts to orchestrate these events at the request of Linda to make him more assertive.
  • Large Ham: Buddy is Jack Nicholson in unhinged mode, with all the mugging and shouting one would expect. Dave is forced to scale up as a result.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: The movie poster.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Buddy thought that David was gay because he makes clothes for cats, despite how many times David had told him that he had a girlfriend. Of course, he knew all along.
  • Mistaken for Racist: "You people." To be fair, the air marshal was just having a bad day.
  • Mood Whiplash: Buddy experiences this more than once.
    • When he suddenly starts blubbering when he thinks his mother has died, and then quickly cheers up.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: There's no way Buddy can know what he's doing. Oh wait, it turns out he does.
  • Offhand Backhand: Dave delivers one to Andrew towards the end of the film.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: The crazy woman doesn't exactly take it well when Dave tells her not to take off her underwear.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: As part of his "therapy," Buddy takes Dave to confront the bully who used to torment him in school. Dave is less than convinced, especially when it turns out that the bully is living in a Buddhist retreat and has renounced all violence. The bully is very apologetic about his behavior... except for when he pulled down Dave's pants in front of his childhood crush. In fact, he mocks Dave even further. They end up wrestling on the monastery grass.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Chuck, despite the fact that the war he fought in, Grenada, literally lasted less than two months.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: "I'm sorry I was so rude before, but it's difficult for me to express myself when I am on the verge of exploding in my pants."
  • Teach Him Anger: Turns out, This is the entire point of Anger Management for Dave.
  • Too Many Halves: Chuck claims to be "half-Irish, half-Italian, half-Mexican."
  • Transgender: Galaxia/Gary.
  • Trickster Mentor

  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Played straight with the flight attendant, but later subverted when he hits the cocktail waitress, by accident.


Example of: